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Novel coronavirus vaccinations for around 14,000 medical staff from the Self-Defense Forces began Monday, the Defense Ministry said, as part of a program launched last month to inoculate health care workers nationwide.

The fourth batch of around 500,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine also arrived at Narita Airport from Belgium, a week after the third batch was delivered. Japan expects to receive doses for 1.33 million people this month and for another 5.13 million people in April if the shipment is approved by the EU.

The health ministry said Monday that five more people in Japan suffered anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction, after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, bringing the overall total to eight. Tomohiro Morio, who heads a ministry group examining adverse reactions to the jabs, said that the frequency of such cases appears high compared with other countries.

A participant receives a mock COVID-19 vaccine shot during an inoculation drill at a shopping mall in Sakura, Chiba Pref., on Friday. | REUTERS
A participant receives a mock COVID-19 vaccine shot during an inoculation drill at a shopping mall in Sakura, Chiba Pref., on Friday. | REUTERS

On the business front, firms in the Tokyo area say that Friday’s extension of the coronavirus state of emergency declared for the capital and nearby prefectures was inevitable but they are worried they are getting insufficient aid to cover their losses.

It emerged over the weekend that 163 jockeys, trainers and others in horse racing have inappropriately obtained ¥187 million using the government program for businesses hit by the pandemic. A tax accountant in Osaka is said to have encouraged people in the industry to apply for money from the program and pocketed 10% of the amount they received as a fee.

Monday’s (and last Monday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (20 or over): Tokyo 116 (121), Chiba 73 (127), Hokkaido 63 (29), Saitama 65 (61), Kanagawa 59 (52), Osaka 38 (56), Miyagi 29 (9), Ibaraki 22 (53). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

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